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Ride of the Week

Custom Harley-Davidson Panhead Chopper

One aspect of motorcycle building that is generally a given is symmetry. It’s not necessarily a point of focus, but most bikes are built or customized to be uniform in appearance and structure, with no discernible outlying design elements. Drew Huddleston took a slightly different approach, and we got to check out one of his impeccable Harleys at Fuel Cleveland this summer.

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Huddleston owns Evolution Cycles, a small St. Louis based motorcycle shop that produces custom built choppers and parts and provides full service on new or used Harley-Davidsons. He’s built a few cool Harleys over the years, and the chopper he brought to Fuel Cleveland was no different.

“It started as a 1976 FX I got from a buddy, and when I picked it up it was basically just the motor,” Huddleston said. “I made the whole frame myself, there’s an open clutch and open primary, but I shaved the clutch basket and painted it to make something different.  Then there’s an old ‘60s, ‘70s style tear dropping on the frame and all the edges on the frame are different.”

“Nothing is straight on the bike, and everything is supposed to be a little bit crooked. The gas tank sits a little to the left and the carburetor is on the wrong side because ‘why not?’”

Huddleston says that most people don’t even notice that the carburetor is on the wrong side. Adding to the cool factor, the carb was cut in half and threaded so that nothing needs to be removed to unscrew it from the bike. For this build, the attention is in the details.

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Especially in terms of the powerplant, which consists of components from two separate engines. The motor was completely stripped down initially and is now comprised of a ’76 shovelhead engine on the low, and a ’63 panhead on top. The combination may sound taboo, but Huddleston gets the reliability of the nose cone with the cool look of the panhead, complete with gold paint that matches the scheme of the rest of the bike.

The stunningly amber-gold paintwork was done by his good friend @nobodyknowsimashithead… and yes, that’s his actual business name. His real names is Chris, and Huddleston says he knocks it out of the park with each job he’s done, which is very apparent from his work on this chopper.

The build also features stainless steel heat-treated handlebars, an open chain primary drive, custom ignition covers, and a dual sided muffler setup.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]

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